Ombudsman accuses trolley business of exploiting staff
The owner of a supermarket trolley-collecting business has routinely exploited vulnerable staff across Australia, says the Fair Work Ombudsman.
The ombudsman is taking court action against Nick Iksidis for allegedly failing to pay more than $27,000 to 12 men working at the Lidcombe Costco supermarket in Sydney. Mr Iksidis is the owner of Effective Supermarket Services, which provides trolley collectors to supermarket chains.
A statement of claim obtained by Fairfax Media alleges that the men - mostly South Korean, aged between 19 and 32 and with little English - were not paid for 105 hours over an 11-day period, including weekends, evenings and overtime during 2011.
The claim alleges that Costco paid $34,633 for trolley collecting services from July 21 to July 31.
But Effective Supermarket Services then allegedly sub-contracted another trolley collecting service, Jay Group Services managed by Jatinder Singh, paying the company nearly $20,000 less than that. It is alleged Mr Iksidis knew the amount he paid to the Jay Group was not enough to meet minimum wage obligations.
The ombudsman is also taking action against Mr Singh and one of his employees who allocated the work, Tejinder Singh Sandhu.
The 12 employees were entitled to wages ranging from $1829 to $2830 each. But according to the documents, they received nothing.
This is the third time the ombudsman has taken legal action against Mr Iksidis for exploiting workers. In 2008 he was fined $120,000 for ''bullying, intimidating, threatening exploiting and underpaying'' vulnerable employees. The Melbourne Magistrate's Court fined the same company $25,000 in December 2007 after it allegedly underpaid three Melbourne trolley collectors $3500.
Costco, Mr Iksidis and Mr Singh did not return calls. The matter is to be heard in the Federal Magistrate's Court in Sydney this year.